chef spotlight
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
5:30pm - 6:30pm


Restaurants around the world are facing unprecedented challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn how four Portland culinary leaders - Carlo Lamagna of Magna Kusina, Aaron Barnett of St. Jack and La Moule, Jason French of Ned Ludd, and Bonnie Morales of Kachka are staying positive and looking ahead. 

Send us your questions for these panelists in advance. 


This webinar is free to attend, but please consider a donation to benefit our nonprofit partners. Registered guests will receive a link to their Zoom webinar one day prior to the event. 

Aaron Barnett_forprint.jpg



After graduating from the California School of Culinary Arts’ Cordon Bleu, Aaron Barnett completed an externship in his native Canada at Lumiere in Vancouver, BC, and was immediately taken with the flavors and produce available in the Pacific Northwest.

He moved down the West Coast back to California to work under Gary Danko in San
Francisco and shortly thereafter took a sous chef position at Myth under Sean O’Brien.

Reminiscing of the Pacific flavors that caught his palate in his externship, Barnett headed back up North to Oregon. After working in Portland kitchens for a couple of years, he opened St. Jack in 2010. St. Jack has won multiple awards in Portland. Barnett was acknowledged with the Portland Rising Star award in 2011, and received a nod from James Beard in 2012. In 2015, Barnett opened his second project, La Moule, a Belgian-inspired gastropub in SE Portland.

> St. Jack is offering a take-out menu.

> La Moule is offering beer and wine for sale.




Jason French is the head chef and owner at Ned Ludd, an American Craft Kitchen and Elder Hall, a Gathering Space in Portland, Oregon. Inspired by classic traditions of farm driven craft cookery, French’s menus perfectly embody his culinary philosophy of seasonally delicious fare. French and his team believe that great food ultimately requires more passion for and attention to the harmony created when one genuinely considers its provenance, preparation and presentation.

> Ned Ludd is offering a to-go menu.



OWNER/CHEF, Magna Kusina

Philippines-born Carlo Lamagna was nine months old when his family immigrated to Canada. His parents were nurses, and when their contracts were up, the family moved to Detroit. Lamagna’s father went on to a surgical residency in the Philippines, and 11-year-old Lamagna went with him.


He returned to Detroit to attend college but dropped out, finding direction in restaurant kitchens instead. In 2005, Lamagna earned a culinary arts degree and met mentor and Certified Master Chef Brian Beland at Country Club of Detroit. From there, he went on to the Culinary Institute of America.


Next, Lamagna worked at Chicago’s North Pond, taking a sabbatical after year two when his father died, practicing charcuterie in Germany, and cooking rustic French cuisine in Lyon. Back stateside in Chicago, he spent two years at Perennial with Paul Virant, who helped Lamagna develop a Filipino dish for the menu.


During his three-year tenure as executive chef of Portland, Oregon’s Clyde Common, Lamagna started pop-up Twisted Filipino, an outlet for his personal mission to amplify and elevate Filipino cuisine. In 2018, Lamagna earned a StarChefs Rising Stars Award, and opened Magna Kusina in 2019 featuring a progressive Filipino menu. 

> Magna is offering $25 weekly take-out meals. 

Bonnie Morales Headshot credit CarlyDiaz


The first-generation American daughter of Belarusian immigrants, chef Bonnie Morales (née Frumkin) grew up in Chicago in a large family that brought with them the distinctive culture of food and drink of the former Soviet Union. As an adult, Morales first began her professional career in product design, but after briefly working for a design consultancy in NYC, she left to pursue a career in food. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America, then honed her skills in several of New York and Chicago’s Michelin starred restaurants including Tru, where she met her future husband and business partner, Israel Morales.


In 2014, the Morales’ opened Kachka, their dream restaurant devoted to the food that Bonnie grew up with, inspired by Russia and former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, and Uzbekistan. Kachka has received accolades from publications such as Bon Appétit, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Vogue, and Food & Wine.  Eater National included Kachka on their list of Best Restaurants in America in 2015, 2016,  2017 and 2018 the only restaurant in Portland to be included. 


Bonnie was named one of Tasting Table’s “New Originals,” and nominated for Food & Wine's The People's Best New Chef in 2015. In 2018, Morales was named a Rising Star Chef by StarChefs, and a finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northwest. In summer of 2018, Kachka expanded into a larger space in Portland’s Central Eastside, and Kachka’s original location reopened as Kachinka, a fun, casual bar focusing on Russian-inspired drinking food, vodka and cocktails. In November, 2019, the Morales’ opened Kachka Lavka, an Eastern European deli and grocery, upstairs from Kachka to showcase the breadth of their house made products, from Russian charcuterie to house baked breads. Morales’ first cookbook, Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking, co-authored by Deena Prichep, was released in 2017 to critical acclaim.


> Kachka is currently offering curbside pick up and local delivery while the dining room is closed, as well as online ordering and shipping of their merchandise and famous dumplings at





Joy is honored to serve as the Board President of the long-standing non-profit, the Portland Culinary Alliance. She is a true food enthusiast; having traveled on culinary trips to Central America, Asia, and Europe. Joy freelances for Eater Pdx and other publications. Previously, she was the food columnist for Yuuyake Shimbun, Oregon’s only Japanese/English newspaper. As of 2020, she has a new podcast called The Joy of Drinking, showcasing everything from tap water to tequila. In her free time, Joy feeds her passion for food and theatre by volunteering on three boards dedicated to supporting local talent in those arenas. You can follow Joy’s eating and imbibing escapades on Instagram @jcplayswithfood and @thejoyofdrinkingpodcast.